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Cummins' Communiqué

Glenna Cummins
P.O. Box 2241, Mwanza, Tanzania, East Africa

July 1, 2006
Dear Friends and Family,
Although I started writing this newsletter to you over two months ago, several subjects in the letter kept changing, almost on a daily basis, delaying sending it.  But I am long overdue to update you on things happening in my life in Tanzania.
The last few months seem to have gone so fast.  Each day is busy even though sometimes you wonder at the end of the day what exactly it was that kept you so busy and what was accomplished.  But God is good and faithful and His blessings are sure every morning.
In February my folks and I were able to take a little safari into Kenya to visit places that had been a part of our lives many years ago.  It was a great experience and wonderful to see the church growth and development, new schools burgeoning and the country in general doing well under national leadership.  The seeds that were planted and watered many years ago have produced much and growth continues.  It was a real blessing to see.
The church in Tanzania continues to struggle in its growth.  Many of the pastors have little or no formal Bible training, but are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have.  During his stay, my father was able to help in this area, doing several week-long teaching seminars in various churches in the Mwanza area and also in Shinyanga.   The people are very interested in hearing, learning, and having God's Word explained to them.  Bible teachers are in great demand.
Recently we received a bit of discouraging news - as you will recall, a few months ago the Bugando church congregation was able to buy some property for a new and permanent church building.  This land was listed as residential but we were assured, prior to purchase, that it was a simple process to have the use changed.  In the mean time there was an election and a new president instituted.  We received word that our application to change the property from residential to church use was rejected.  Our contact said that the new government was being very strict about changing use of residential properties.  After praying and seeking the Lord's guidance and direction, we were led to some other property in the same area that was for sale.  It is a double plot, much larger and better suited to a church building with ample land allowing increased possibilities.  As the purchase process continues - acquiring permission to build a church on this land, raising funds for the purchase, the transfer of the land, we covet your prayers.  The process of purchasing land is much harder and lengthier over here - visiting various offices for each step versus the lawyer and real estate agent taking care of the details.  It also seems increasingly difficult to build churches especially in the city area.   Please pray for this situation.  Bugando really needs a permanent building now - the congregation is overflowing the current building which is being eaten away by termites!  Nevertheless, the youth continue with their door-to-door evangelism and weekly home Bible studies are taking hold.
The clinic continues to function well meeting the needs of the community.  In anticipation of night shift, the front of the clinic has been enclosed with a half-wall topped with iron grating for increased security.  Three new staff members have also been added to help compensate for staff leaves and also in preparation for the night shift, hopefully starting in the fall.  A prerequisite to starting a Maternal-Child Unit is direct road access to the clinic - this is another lengthy process being addressed.  The clinic has just recently been able to purchase land adjacent to and below the clinic which will facilitate a road way and also possibly other facilities for the clinic.
Many of you may have heard of the famine in Africa.  The rains were very late and very sparse this year.   Although we don't notice the famine to the same extent in the city, except for rising prices, it is felt more in the country where people are more dependant on their gardens.  Late rain eventually came but not as much as usual and late enough to affect the crops and harvest.  It was my privilege to help some of the needy people suffering from hunger, through financial relief that was sent from Canada.  Several of the pastors and church leaders helped to distribute maize to the church communities around the country.  I always feel blessed and honoured to be this type of a messenger!
On a personal note, many of you may already be aware that I was married on June 24th in Markham, Ontario.   Through a series of events, the Lord led John Peterson, an American from Pennsylvania, to Mwanza for 6 months to do Bible teaching and seminars in churches.  I first met John in early March but our friendship developed, the week before Easter, when he was invited by the pastor to do a seminar series at Bugando church.  Because of the events and answers to prayers, we really believe that God has brought us together.  I flew home for a two week "vacation" so we could meet each others families, pastors and initiate the process of John being approved with World Partners, never dreaming that I would be married while at home.  We were overwhelmed by the blessings and encouragement we received from our families, pastors, churches, World Partners, and friends and it just seemed that God had orchestrated our marriage on June 24th.  John is returning with me to Tanzania and we will continue to minister together - John with pastoral training and Bible teaching and I will continue my involvement in the clinic and take a more active role in community health teaching through the churches.   We expect to be returning in the fall to do a short home assignment.  (Updated newsletter header and contact information to follow, but current email and postal address will still reach us.)
It is great to have the privilege to serve the Lord in tangible ways and we are so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord in Tanzania.  We covet and appreciate your continued prayers and support as we seek God's leading for ministry opportunities, His enabling to carry out the work He has given us to do, and for continued health and safety.
May God bless you, each one.  Bwana asafiwe!
John and Glenna Peterson
John Paul in Africa